While I was on the plane, I typed up a draft of a blog post about my experience with the flight and the airport. Wouldn’t you know my Wifi isn’t working on my phone for some reason!
So perhaps I will write about that later. But here I am in Incheon, Korea, safe and sound. (I arrived yesterday, about 12 hours ago.)
I was scared and nervous at first, aside from the excitement. I had a bit of culture shock, though I thought I’d handle it okay. I think my biggest problems was that I got sick upon arrival. My family here was so nice to take me out to dinner and I had to leave, rush out of the building, because I felt like I would vomit in the restaurant. And, of course, we were on the top floor of the restaurant! It was a nice bulgogi restaurant. And, in Korea, you take of your shoes. So I had to shuffle to find my shoes, slip them on, and run down the stairs. I sat down outside and the owner was so sweet he brought me water and medicine for an upset stomach. My father here explained to him that I have sickness from a 14-hour flight. The nice parking man spoke little English and asked me where I had come from and asked me about my Korean level. I had to admit I only know a little bit. I can read and write Korean, and I know some words, but my conversational Korean is a bit….nonexistant. Almost embarrassing coming here and I can’t speak the language as well as I though, forcing my father here to speak English, while the grandmother and mother cannot. Hopefully the language barrier won’t be an issue at Hanyang where I’ll be with international students in classes speaking English. I think I got so nervous I panicked. I froze up. I barely said anything. I said short phrases in Korean that I knew. I even brought my dictionary to dinner which was so awkward. But, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to express something I may really want to say. My family here is so sweet. They were so worried. I continuously apologized that I had left dinner, but they did not think anything of it. They were worried and took good care of me. They even made me all kinds of food and brought it to me, which I sadly had to turn down because my stomach just wasn’t hungry. I think they said they’d make me ddeokbokki, however shortly thereafter I fell asleep. I do remember grandma coming in and pulling a blanket over me. How sweet! The grandma does not know English, but she is really sweet. She kept speaking Korean to me, rubbing my back, and taking care of me.
Hopefully today will be better. I rested up, and now I haven’t eaten in so long that I AM hungry. I also haven’t showered and feel disgusting, so that would be nice! I’m kind of hiding in my room right now. I also feel awkward cause it’s quarter of six in the morning and I am wide awake. My body may still think it is quarter of 5 PM. Oh, jet lag. But, hey, I woke up at midnight this morning fully awake and realized that I couldn’t do anything. So, I forced myself to go back to sleep until a reasonable hour so I don’t feel awkward or wake the family. Now I’m just sitting here….. what do I do?
I’m going to go to Hanyang today, but not sure when. I’m a bit worried, because all the students want to do is party and enjoy the night life. While I want to explore the night life, I want to focus on my studies and enjoy every aspect of Korea – and remember it. Not to mention, me starting off by being sick wasn’t a good sign. I want to be careful. So, I don’t care if everyone wants to go clubbing tomorrow – I may stay back. I also am making plans to have dinner with my friend’s mom here this weekend. That will be so nice! She also speaks little English.
I feel so bad. I come to this country and I still speak my native language. I speak very very very broken Korean. I feel like I should be speaking Korean. But, on the bright side, most students at this program don’t even read Korean. However, I have a different experience, as I’m staying with a family right now overnight instead of going to the university.
I will say I am happy to be here. I cried upon landing. I was staring out the window of my AirBus A380 and could not believe after 14 hours at an altitude above 40,000 feet, that I made it to Korea. I finally have left my country for the first time. I was in shock. At first, it was in a good way. The airport just kind of sucked having to wait in long lines for customs and immigration. Eventually, I got my luggage, went on my way, and met my family. They had such smiling faces, holding up signs they made me. Mom kept taking pictures of me. I formally greeted them and shook their hand, then the father just hugged me! It was so sweet!! I will never forget that.
I’m going to go. I will blog more later, and hopefully get my other blog post I had ready on here.
Goodbye, from Incheon!